Why You Should Stop Checking Your Phone In The Morning (And What To Do Instead)


    Jay Rai is a corporate public speaker and empowerment psychologist with a focus on the neuroscience of mental wellness.

    Just a few minutes after waking up, how many of us are guilty of reaching for our phones? It might be very alluring to check email, browse social media, and see what news has been released recently. Undoubtedly, our phones can increase our productivity and enhance our quality of life, but they can also be a significant cause of stress and distraction, particularly when we check them first thing in the morning.

    What Checking Your Phone Does To Your Brain

    Your brain transitions from delta waves, which happen during deep sleep, to theta waves, which happen during a kind of daydreaming, when you first wake up in the morning. When you are alert and calm, your brain then starts to produce alpha waves and you are not processing a lot of information.


    Now, if you go for your phone first thing in the morning and jump straight into the internet world, you are forcing your body to bypass the crucial theta and alpha phases and go straight from the delta stage to a fully awake and aware state (also referred to as the beta state).

    “The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt,” according to Scientific American. Because of this, theta state is the perfect time to use your subconscious to picture what you want and encourage your brain to move your actions in the direction of realizing your goal.


    You are primed for distraction if you ignore these states and check your phone as soon as you wake up. Your stress response may be triggered and you may feel tense for the remainder of the day if you see or read something upsetting first thing in the morning. In a similar vein, you can feel pressured to reply to work-related emails even if you’re still in bed. That’s an issue because, in the words of Julie Morgenstern, author of the book Never Check Email in the Morning, “there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes… those requests and those interruptions and those surprises and those reminders and problems are endless.”

    What To Do Instead

    Your creative mind is most active in the morning, so make use of this time to set up the circumstances you desire for your life. After you’ve set aside time for yourself, teach your brain to tolerate more helpful but less exciting activities. Here are some pointers for getting your morning off to a happier start:

    Adjust your settings and surroundings.

    Turn your phone to airplane mode before you go to bed. In this configuration, your alarm will continue to function, but you won’t receive any messages or alerts as soon as you wake up. Even better, you may use a traditional alarm clock and switch off or charge your phone in a different room. By doing this, you almost eliminate the temptation.

    Plan to do something else.

    Without a daily routine in place, it’s simple to revert to previous behaviors, such as checking your phone first thing in the morning. Think about putting this morning’s time to better use by doing the following:

    • Exercising.

    • Spending time with family.

    • Listening to a podcast or music or looking at art.

    • Appreciating the real world around you.

    • Looking at your schedule for the day and prioritizing tasks.

    • Mindfully make a cup of coffee.

    I use this time to meditate and set intentions.

    Although it may sound cliche, I can tell you from experience that the days I set apart to meditate, concentrate on taking deep breaths, and consider how I want to feel are usually the best ones. Furthermore, studies indicate that the morning is the ideal time to accomplish this. According to one study, when your brain is in the alpha state—which is when it’s not completely asleep but also not trying to focus on anything significant—meditation can help your brain produce even more alpha waves.

    Repeating affirmations that are consistent with your ideas and basic values is one method for setting intentions. If you’ve never used affirmations before, starting with words like “I expect good things to happen” or “I am going to achieve my priority tasks today” is a terrific place to start.

    These activities, as opposed to checking your smartphone, reduce stress, increase focus and productivity, and promote mental clarity. Next morning, when your alarm goes off, visualize the things you want to accomplish and the things you want to happen. This will help you get in a better frame of mind and avoid grabbing for your phone first thing. Recall that your day’s success is determined by how you begin it.